'More Google than Gringotts': Explaining Lloyds' digital talent strategy

'More Google than Gringotts': Explaining Lloyds' digital talent strategy

Gemma Williams, head of the people programme at Lloyds Banking Group's digital unit outlines the bank's strategy for attracting and retaining the best digital talent.

If you thought hot digital talent wouldn’t want to work for a bank, you’d be wrong. Just ask our hires from Ebay, Skype, Amazon, Asos and Disney. It’s also a myth that Millennials don’t want to work for banks either - we currently have 30 amazing digital grads who joined us last September when we launched the first digital graduate scheme in banking. And with £1billion invested in building digital capability across the bank over three year up to 2017 they know there is plenty for them to do.

But that’s not to say it’s always easy to attract the best digital talent. With digital skills in short supply, the battle for the best talent is on, and of course it’s a challenge for a bank to compete with a celebrated tech giant or a Shoreditch start up. As the nature of skills we need in our business has changed, so too have the talent sources we look to, to attract the right people.

We’re no longer competing just with our industry peers for talent, but tech companies and digital retailers.

Gender diversity in the tech industry is also a challenge, as typically just 1 in 14 candidates for a tech job is female. So to achieve our talent and growth ambitions we needed to rethink our strategy.

Our approach has three main elements: develop the right environment to attract and retain talented people; find a compelling way to amplify our employer brand in the market, and get our processes to select and onboard talent right every time.

What surprises a lot of people who join the team or visit our digital hubs is that we don’t conform to what people imagine from a stereotypical bank. We have created an innovation movement that makes us more Google than Gringotts. Our digital hub in London sits equidistant to the traditional heart of banking in the City of London and the epicentre of digital Shoreditch, with more locations across the UK helping to shape our three retail brands; Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and Halifax.

Whilst we appreciate the importance of the physical environments our people work in - we thrive in bright open plan spaces (no grey compartmentalised offices here) with walls which you can write on so you never lose a good idea) - we know that it takes more than a few bean bags to create a culture.

We have thought about the behaviours and operating principles that will guide our progress. We need great people to be great for our customers and that’s what is happening with our services - we have topped ranked mobile apps and have recently won the Best Online Provider Award from Business Moneyfacts.

We run regular mash ups, hack days and innovation jams to innovate solutions for customers and challenge the way we do things. We hold weekly Digital Espressos (think live TedTalks) and monthly Espresso Martini evening meet ups for internal and external thought leaders to get together and share ideas. We partner with Fintech accelerators and start ups to incubate ideas, and use social collaboration tools (our monthly “Ask Me Anything” sessions with leaders are particularly popular), as well as frequent opportunities to bring people together for stand ups and events.

We know we need to enable people to make a meaningful contribution at work, and our digital teams are actively changing the way Britain banks. More than 11,500 of our people across the group are “Digital Champions” helping business, charities and customers get the most out of being online and taking our digital capability across the bank and into our communities. We achieve consistently above average employee engagement scores, and good retention and internal promotion rates. And we are key supporters and influencers on the women in FinTech agenda. We have a number of senior female top talent who are acting as role models to inspire future tech talent inside and outside of our organisation. Our focus became how to stop being the best kept secret in FinTech and send an authentic and compelling message to our target talent.

In theory, online platforms make it easier to find (and lose) talented people. In reality, talent is smart and our shop window needed to be in order. LinkedIn transformed the way talent connects with employers. This made the market more open, and authentic. Sites like Glassdoor make job to job comparisons available at a click, so a strong, differentiated and compelling brand is essential.

We know that top digital talent are savvy individuals and we work hard to reach them with a compelling recruitment message. We developed a content-led approach, which enables us to tell the story of the things that we are doing to change the way Britain banks on our online hub. Using social media and encouraging organic advocacy of our people, we have been telling our story in the places that tech talent hang out online.

But this is just the first step of the process. Building an intelligent selection approach, which codifies the critical success factors and mindset for success in role is key, so we developed a bespoke psychometric assessment to help us make the right decision every time. We also start the bonding and onboarding process with new colleagues earlier and do it more effectively.

As we look forward, it’s clear that the world of work will change significantly in the next five to ten years as the paradigm around the construct of work evolves. Our focus now is looking to the future of work, and evolving our environment to anticipate and embrace it.

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